Module (NCG) Research Methods MBA706

Module Overview

 

This module provides an introduction to research methods and provides an overview of the quantitative and qualitative methodologies that are needed in order to successfully carry out a research project.

 

The module will cover the major research methods (observation, surveys, case studies, interviews and action research), the implications of using them as well as the analysis of qualitative and quantitative data and presentation of findings.

 

It identifies how to develop research questions and how to produce a research proposal and research design considering the issues of data validation and reliability

 

This module provides a comprehensive introduction to research as practised in business and management disciplines.  It provides an overview of the key quantitative and qualitative methodologies that are needed to undertake, evaluate and present a small scale research project.  Following an introduction to research the module will move on to explore the major paradigms and debates in business research.  It will help students to build appropriate strategies for reviewing literature and developing a coherent set of aims and objectives for a research study.  The module will cover the major research methods (observation, surveys, case studies, interviews and action research), the implications of using them as well as the analysis of qualitative and quantitative data and presentation of findings.  It identifies how to develop research questions/hypotheses and how to produce a robust and realistic research proposal and research design considering issues of data reliability, validation, and triangulation.

 

Aims and learning outcomes of the module

 

At the end of this module students should be able to:

 

  1. Interpret existing research as a prelude to carrying out further investigation and demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of a range of research designs and their appropriate utilisation
  2. Demonstrate critical thinking in comprehending relevant research articles.
  3. Critically evaluate a range of quantitative and qualitative research paradigms
  4. Competently analyse data appropriately in the context of both a qualitative and mixed method research project.
  5. Develop a robust research proposal appropriate for a Masters dissertation.

Module delivery plan

 

DateEvent/TopicSelf/Peer Directed Activities
27.01.20Session 1: Introduction to Business Research strategies & Ethics

●      Explain the difference between theory and research

●      Identify the relationship of epistemology and ontology to business research

●      Compare and contrast quantitative and qualitative influences on business research

 

Task 1 – Formative assessment:

Review of your Academic Skills

(please see below for a full assessment brief)

Bryman, A and Bell, E (2015) Business Research Methods. 4th Ed. Oxford: Oxford UP.

Chapter 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See page 8

 

 

HE survey and NSS survey due to be completed this week

 

03.02.20Session 2: Research Designs

●      Define the criteria which are required within business research.

●      Distinguish various research designs and their usefulness

●      Combine research strategy and research design.

Bryman, A and Bell, E (2015) Business Research Methods. 4th Ed. Oxford: Oxford UP.

Chapter 2

10.02.20Session 3: Review the literature

●      Discuss the existing literature and engaging in what others have written

●      Summarise existing literature and looking for business information

●      Identifying a good literature review

Bryman, A and Bell, E (2015) Business Research Methods. 4th Ed. Oxford: Oxford UP.

Chapter 4

 

 

Staff professional development day 12.02.20 – college will be closed to all students

17.02.20Session 4: The nature of Quantitative Research

Critical Thinking and Reflective writing workshop:

●      Plymouth Guide

 

A series of activities will be organised to get you familiar with the different aspects of this Guide.

Please visit: www.plymounth.ac.uk/learn
21.02.20Session 5: The nature of Quantitative Research

●      Identify the main steps in quantitative research

●      Explain the main preoccupations of quantitative researchers

●      Critically analyse the use of Quantitative research methods

 

Task 2 – Formative assessment:

A written critique of a research article

(please see page 9 for a full assessment brief)

Bryman, A and Bell, E (2015) Business Research Methods. 4th Ed. Oxford: Oxford UP.

Chapter 6

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wallace, Michelle & Sheldon, Neroli (2015) ‘Business Research Ethics: Participant Observer Perspectives’, Journal of Business Ethics (128), pp. 267–277

02.03.20Session 6: Qualitative/Quantitative research – methods of collecting data

●      Explain the usefulness of sampling

●      Outline the key elements of structured interviewing

●      Demonstrate the effectiveness of questionnaires

Bryman, A and Bell, E (2015) Business Research Methods. 4th Ed. Oxford: Oxford UP.

Chapter 12

 

 

09.03.20Session 7: Using SPSS in Windows

●      Identify the key points in using SPSS

●      Describe the relevance of data analysis within SPSS

●      Evaluate the effectiveness of SPSS

Bryman, A and Bell, E (2015) Business Research Methods. 4th Ed. Oxford: Oxford UP.

Chapter 15

16.03.20Session 8: The nature of qualitative research

●      Explain the main steps in qualitative research

●      Compare the various concepts in qualitative research

●      Compare and contrast between quantitative and qualitative research

 

Task 3 – Formative assessment:

Considering different approaches to structuring your research.

Bryman, A and Bell, E (2015) Business Research Methods. 4th Ed. Oxford: Oxford UP.

Chapter 17

 

 

 

 

 

Bonnett, A. (2001) How to Argue, a student guide. Harlow: Pearson.

 

HE student conference 19th March 2020

23.03.20Session 9: Qualitative data analysis

●      Explain the general strategies of qualitative data analysis

●      Identify the usefulness of computer assisted analysis (CAQAS)

Compare various strategies

Bryman, A and Bell, E (2015) Business Research Methods. 4th Ed. Oxford: Oxford UP.

Chapter 22

30.03.20Session 10: Breaking down the Quantitative/Qualitative divide

●      Examine the problems with the quantitative/qualitative divide

●      Identify the meaning of ‘analysis’

●      Discuss quantification in qualitative research

Bryman, A and Bell, E (2015) Business Research Methods. 4th Ed. Oxford: Oxford UP.

Chapter 24

06.04.20Easter Holidays

 

13.04.20Easter Holidays

 

20.04.20Session 11: Mixed methods research (hybrid approaches)

●      Examine the argument against mixed methods research

●      Critically analyse the rise of mixed methods (hybrid) research

●      Evaluate the various approaches to mixed methods research

Bryman, A and Bell, E (2015) Business Research Methods. 4th Ed. Oxford: Oxford UP.

Chapter 27

 

 

Staff professional day 20.04.20 – college will be closed to all students

27.04.20Session 12: Writing up business research

●      Consider the best way in writing up your research

●      Compare and contrast various examples of research write up

●      Examine postmodernism

Bryman, A and Bell, E (2015) Business Research Methods. 4th Ed. Oxford: Oxford UP.

Chapter 27

04.05.20Session 13: Putting it all together

 

●      Looking at exampler research proposals

●      121 Support on your draft proposals

 

●      Note there is an additional session on Wednesday 06.05.20 1pm until 3pm in room PB9.09 to look at SPSS and Hyper research
08.05.20Assignment (Research Proposal) due in 08.05.20

Review Week and Module Evaluations

 

All chapters revision

 

Note: The delivery plan may be subject to minor amends in response to the progress and pace of the student group.

 

Reading list and additional learning resources

 

Core Reading

 

Bryman, A and Bell, E (2015) Business Research Methods. 4th Ed. Oxford: Oxford UP.

 

Recommended Supplementary Reading List

 

Bryman, A (2012) Social research methods. 4th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

 

Coakes, SJ, Steed, LG & Ong, C (2010) SPSS Version 18.0 for Windows: Analysis without Anguish. Milton, Queensland: Wiley.

 

Coghlan, D and Brannick, T (2010) Doing Action Research in Your Own Organisation. London: Sage.

 

Collis, J and Hussey, R (2009), Business Research. 2nd ed. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

 

Creswell, JW (2013) Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. London: Sage.

 

Gill, J and Johnson, P (2011) Research Methods for Managers. 3rd ed. London: Sage.

 

Robson, C (2010) Real World Research. London: Blackwell.

 

Saunders, MNK, Thornhill, A and Lewis, P (2012) Research Methods for Business Students, NJ: Prentice Hall.

 

Wallace, M & Sheldon, N (2015) ‘Business Research Ethics: Participant Observer Perspectives’. Journal of Business Ethics (128), pp. 267–277.

 

Journals

 

International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 1364-5579; 1464-5300 (on line)

 

Qualitative Research Journal, 1443-9883

 

Qualitative Research 1468-7941

 

Journal of Business Research

 

Additional resources to support your modules can be accessed within your programme area of Moodle.

 

Assessment

 

The summative assessment for this module will consist of one component: A research/work based proposal with a weighting of 100% (upper word limit 2500 words)

 

You must present the following for assessment for this module

 

Assessment Tool% Weighting

as per assessment matrix

Learning Outcomes Covered:

 

Assessment deadline date, time

& location/method (Turnitin)

Research Proposal100%1,2,3,4 & 5Assessment due 08th May at 11.59 pm via Moodle. Feedback will be given 29.05.20

 

Resubmission : TBC

 

 

Grading Criteria

 

GradeGeneric Grading Criteria

 

Contextualised Grading criteria
Excellent Outcome: 70% +

 

Most of the relevant information/skills accurately deployed.

Excellent grasp of theoretical/conceptual/practical elements.

Good integration of theory/practice/information in pursuit of the assessed work’s objectives.

 

Your work demonstrates excellent Harvard referencing and draws upon an extensive range of academic resources. Grammar, spelling and punctuation are of a very high standard with very few errors. Work is set out in an appropriate format and is written in a highly academic style. Work is very close to the guideline word limit.

You have included all of the relevant sections and these are very detailed. Your research design is highly appropriate and justified. You have shown an excellent understanding of your chosen topic and you have provided an excellent rationale for the study. Your work is very well thought out and is an excellent example of a methodology. There are no omissions and the research is both valid and reliable.

 

Above Average Outcome: 60-69%

 

Most of the relevant information/skills accurately deployed.

Good grasp of theoretical/conceptual/practical elements.

Good integration of theory/practice/information in pursuit of the assessed work’s objectives.

 

Your work demonstrates good Harvard referencing, with some minor errors and draws upon an above average range of academic resources. Grammar, spelling and punctuation are of a high standard with a few errors. Work is set out in an appropriate format and is written in an academic style. Work is close to the guideline word limit.

You have included all of the relevant sections and these are detailed. Your research design is appropriate and justified. You have shown an above average understanding of your chosen topic and you have provided a good rationale for the study. Your work is well thought out and is an above average example of a methodology. There are few omissions and the research is both valid and reliable.

Average Outcome: 50-59%

 

Much of the relevant information/skills mostly accurately deployed.

Adequate grasp of the theoretical/conceptual/practical elements.

Fair integration of theory/practice/information in pursuit of the assessed work’s objectives.

 

Your work demonstrates an average attempt at Harvard referencing, with some errors present, and draws upon an adequate range of academic resources; there was scope to use more academic sources here. Grammar, spelling and punctuation are of an adequate standard with some errors. Work is set out in an appropriate format, with some omissions and an attempt is made to write in an academic style. Work may not be close to the guideline word limit.

You have included the relevant sections and these are somewhat detailed. Your research design is appropriate and, in places justified. You have shown an average understanding of your chosen topic and you have provided a rationale for the study. Your work demonstrates some thought and is an average example of a methodology. There are some omissions and the research shows some evidence of being reliable and valid.

Satisfactory Outcome: 40-49%

 

No major omissions or inaccuracies in the deployment of information/skills.

Some grasp of theoretical/conceptual/practical elements.

Integration of theory/practice/information present intermittently in pursuit of the assessed work’s objectives.

 

Your work demonstrates some attempt at Harvard referencing, with errors present throughout, and draws upon a limited range of academic resources; there was much more scope to use more academic sources here. Grammar, spelling and punctuation are of a satisfactory standard with errors present throughout. An attempt is made to set work out in an appropriate format, but there are omissions. An attempt is made to write in an academic style, however this is limited. Work may not be close to the guideline word limit.

You have included most of the relevant sections but these could have been more detailed. Your research design is satisfactory however you could have justified this more. You have shown a satisfactory understanding of your chosen topic but there is a limited rationale for the study. Your work could have been better thought out and is a satisfactory example of primary research. There are some omissions and the research shows some, perhaps limited, evidence of being reliable and valid.

Unsatisfactory Outcome: 30-39%

 

Knowledge and understanding at limited level; may be errors both in terms of factual knowledge and understanding; expression of ideas not always clear, and argument/discussion weakly structured.

 

Your work demonstrates limited attempt at Harvard referencing, there are frequent errors present throughout. Your work draws upon a very limited range of academic resources; there was much more scope to use more academic sources here. Grammar, spelling and punctuation are poor with errors present throughout. A limited attempt is made to set work out in an appropriate format, and there are omissions. A limited attempt is made to write in an academic style. Work is not close to the guideline word limit.

You have not included all of the relevant sections and these could have been more detailed. Your research design is flawed and you could have justified this more. You have shown a limited understanding of your chosen topic and there is a limited rationale for the study. Sections of your work need to be rewritten or structured and you need to demonstrate that primary research has been conducted. There are many omissions and the research shows limited evidence of being reliable and valid.

Unsatisfactory Outcome: 15-29%

 

Knowledge and understanding at limited level shown by significant errors and/or omissions both in terms of factual knowledge and understanding, with tendency to description rather than analysis; may include inability to express ideas clearly, lack of coherence in terms of structure, inclusion of irrelevant material.

 

Your work demonstrates a very limited attempt at Harvard referencing, there are frequent errors present throughout. Your work draws upon a very limited range of academic resources; there was much more scope to use more academic sources here. Grammar, spelling and punctuation are very poor with errors present throughout. A very limited attempt is made to set work out in an appropriate format, and there are many omissions. A very limited attempt is made to write in an academic style. Work is not close to the guideline word limit.

You have not included all of the relevant sections and these require much more detail. Your research design is flawed and you have not justified this at all. You have shown a very limited understanding of your chosen topic and there is little rationale for the study. Sections of your work need to be rewritten or structured and you need to demonstrate that primary research has been conducted. There are many omissions and the research shows very limited evidence of being reliable and valid.

Unsatisfactory Outcome: below 15%

 

Overall lack of relevant information, descriptive not analytical; may also be repetitive, lack organisation, demonstrate inadequate use of language and inability to construct sentences.

 

Your work demonstrates no Harvard referencing, there are frequent errors present throughout. Your work draws upon no academic resources. Grammar, spelling and punctuation are very poor with errors present throughout. A very limited attempt is made to set work out in an appropriate format, and there are many omissions. No attempt is made to write in an academic style. Work is not close to the guideline word limit.

You have not included all of the relevant sections and these require much more detail. Your research design is completely flawed and you have not justified this at all. You have shown a no understanding of your chosen topic and there is no rationale for the study. Most of your work needs to be rewritten or structured and you need to demonstrate that primary research has been conducted. You need to have a different topic and focus. There are many major omissions and the research shows no evidence of being reliable and valid.

 

 

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